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The Encyclopedia of Fantasy Reviews

Scott Bradfield
The Mail on Sunday

The Encyclopedia of Fantasy

It's unusual to think of a reference book as big and dense as this one being written with gusto, but here the term certainly applies. It not only provides an all-absorbing diversion for fans of fantasy (at least those who don't mind chewing a little while they browse), but also makes some convincing theoretical arguments with vigour and muscle. . . . the EoF represents that rarest of reference books - one written by people who love both the telling of stories and the critical study of them.

The Economist

Its size makes it hardly pickupable; if not for that, it would be unputdownable. . . One of the three great achievements of this encyclopedia is the way in which [its] view of fantasy provides a sort of grammar for describing it. The second achievement is a vocabulary with which to describe it. . . . Its third great achievement is the breadth and thoroughness of its reference, thousands of entries on writers and their works which combine authority and detail with insight . . . there is a seemingly inexhaustible wealth of material here.

Library Journal

An excellent and highly readable source for fantasy, the first of its kind.

Paul Di Filippo
Washington Post Book World

From a centuries-old heritage that encompasses both genius and hack, they manage to extract something of value from even the meanest product of Grub Street, without thereby diminishing the works of genius. . . .short of a 'pact with the devil' that would have given me 'three wishes', I could not have asked for more 'enchantment' than that provided by the 'witches', 'wizards' and 'liminal beings' who have labored so hard to bring us this ambitious 'grimoire'.

Diana Tixier Herald
Genreflecting: A Guide to Reading Interests in Genre Fiction (5th edn)

"The first, only, and definitive encyclopedia of fantasy. This is a must-have for every serious fantasy collection. It has over a million words in 4,000 entries. Everything you ever wanted to know about fantasy from the dawn of time to 1995 is included. Not only covering the written word, it also takes on movies, television, art, and live permances that are fantasy based."

Review by John O'Neill

Books You Need

A lot of review copies cross my desk these days, but it's been a long time since one landed with the impact of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy by John Clute and John Grant (St. Martin's Press, May 1997, $75). This is a massive book, some 1049 pages of fine print, and the companion volume to 1993's monumental Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (edited by Clute and Peter Nicholls). I haven't had a chance to do it justice with a proper review, but in the hours I've stolen to sift through it I've discovered fascinating bits of trivia, insightful analyses of some of my favorite books and authors, and in-depth discussions of trends and themes in Fantasy that will be invaluable to anyone researching the subject. But most importantly, this book avoids the greatest potential pitfall for any work this comprehensive: it is not strictly an academic reference destined for the dust-lined shelves of your local library. This book is full of lively discussion and history, with lengthy subject headings on role-playing games, comics, Christmas, cartoons and movies, to name just a few. I even found a fond reference to my favorite bookstore, the late-lamented House of Speculative Fiction in Ottawa, Canada, and a near-complete list of the young authors and fans who flourished in its circle, including Charles de Lint and John Bell. It is a gold mine for the casual reader, pointing out lost or neglected gems in almost every genre. I walked away from this book informed about dozens of books, authors and films which I have since investigated. It's not perfect -- the editors ignore one of the most popular venues on the 80's and 90's, fantasy-based computer, video, and online games such as the immensely popular Final Fantasy and Ultima series, for example. And I dearly miss the spot art and photographs that graced the first edition Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. But this is precisely the kind of book you can get lost in for days. Highly Recommended.

Review by C. J. Cherryh

Books by C. J. Cherryh

The Encyclopedia of Fantasy
John Clute & John Grant
St. Martin's Press hard cover

The follow-up to the monumental The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by John Clute and Peter Nichols, released in paperback last year. Quite possibly the most comprehensive reference work on the field ever published. If you're serious about Fantasy, you need it. First US printing.